Total War

Lady Zhurong’s Beastmen

Content of the article: "Lady Zhurong’s Beastmen"

Tl;dr – Beastmen should be reworked to work like Lady Zhurong's faction imo.

The Furious Wild has drawn me back to Three Kingdoms, and playing Lady Zhurong makes me wonder if CA is experimenting for a Beastmen rework.

Cross pollination has happened throughout TW: sanitation and family trees went backwards from Atilla to Rome 2, hordes from Atilla led to Chaos hordes, heroes from Warhammer prototyped for 3k, the recruitment and supply was tried first in ToB then 3k.

So Beastmen have a mechanic tied to Morrslieb, the Chaos moon. Every 7 turns you have a set of 4 options of varying severity depending on the state of the moon (new, waxing, full, waning, I think there's a special eclipse one in there but it's been a while). While a sudden burst of 150% replenishment is fun, you only get that every 20 odd turns.

Lady Zhurong has a fire mechanic, dependent on the seasons. Each season (spring, summer, harvest, autumn, winter) she gains a different amount of fire points, representing riling the tribespeople up into a frenzy. Each gives a different amount, so a winter turn will only give you one whereas summer gives a whopping 5. When you reach 18 you get a satisfaction boost which slowly drains, and you can ignite the fire to gain huge buffs dependent on the season. As you keep the fire burning you incur penalties to upkeep, and once extinguished you suffer -10 speed and melee damage but +10% replenishment.

The key thing that makes Zhurong's better, in my view, is agency. If you get a good Morrslieb event which lasts 3 turns, and the settlement you want to attack us 4 turns away, it's wasted. You could memorise all the Beastmen options and strategise around it, but that feels like poor design compared to Zhurong's which can be viewed at any time.

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Meanwhile let's say you reach max fire in summer, but you know you're going to be fighting defensive battles so you want the two archer towers from the Winter bonus. All you have to do is wait two turns – your faction will get a little restless at you keeping the fever pitch for so long, but the choice is yours. If an enemy pops up you can alter your strategy and unleash the fire right away.

This fits perfectly with the Beastmen style of play, massive surges of aggression followed by recuperating. You could have a phase of Morrslieb every turn or several turns, with the Brayherd's bestial rage growing faster when it is full just as the Nanman are more active in warm weather. When Morrslieb is hidden the Beastmen could focus on ambushes and keeping their encampment safe with increased concealment. Waxing could bring replenishment and horde growth, full moon a bevy of melee buffs as the herd runs wild, and waning could reduce construction costs and buff skirmishers/ranged attacks or something.

This could replace the brayherd agitation as well, with maybe an eclipse event to spawn a brayherd like the Greenskin waaagh army.

Zhurong nails that surging with the seasons vibe while still allowing the player to make choices, and it feels like playing as Beastmen just without the magic.


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